Ah, spring. We feel ourselves come alive when it makes its way back around. The birds are chirping. Our bare feet find the cool grass. Fields of flowers beckon us all for photo ops.
As we’re reunited with the sun, we open our windows, pull our backless dresses and strappy sandals from hibernation, and are whisked into the freedom of the open air. While the trees transform from barren to blooming, we feel an urging to reinvent our homes and workspaces. We rummage through our cluttered closets and drawers, stowing away our boots and sweaters, and dumping expired products and papers we no longer need. We scrub our baseboards and wipe through long-abandoned nooks. Why is it, then, that we oftentimes neglect the corners of our lives that also ask to be wiped of cobwebs and dust, and purged of chaos?
When we spring clean our inner world, we awaken to modes of beauty and clarity we weren’t able to hear above the noise of life’s chatter. Our zest for living returns, and we are energized by the buzz of fresh inspirations and pursuits. Ahead are 10 rejuvenating ways to usher them in—to sweep through our thought habits, routines and relationships, draw back the shades and step into brighter possibilities.
#1 Grab a notebook and unload all of your “I should”s.
We all have a roster of them. They often find us during endless commutes in our cars or on the subway, or when we’re struggling to quiet our minds at night for sleeping. Exile them, one by one, from your head and onto the page. Decide, once and for all, if you will finally turn that “should” into a “could” this spring—maybe even a “done.”
#2 Those things that have been nagging at you for weeks or months—let them blow away in the open air.
Did a lover betray your trust? Were you screwed out of a promising promotion you worked furiously for? Did you dole out a string of apologies to a family member who refused to receive them? Whatever it is, if it’s holding your thoughts hostage, purge it from your mind and cast it away. It’s time to stop clenching to the things that haunted you all Winter long. If you can’t change it, you’re only choice in freedom is to let it go.
#3 Sink into a gratitude bath.
Buy a stack of “thank you” cards and summon to your mind those who have colored your days. Did someone race to your side when you were stranded? Treat you to a latte in the midst of that rapidly-approaching deadline? Said that thing that sent a lightening bolt through your spell of self-doubt? Call upon those who have gifted you with bursts of compassion, insight and joy, and drop those notes of gratitude in the mail.
#4 Pull the weeds from your relationship garden.
Bring to light all of the relationships that have been dying a slow death for too long. Are there conversations that always seem to be about the same thing going nowhere—draining your stream of happiness, never refilling it with anything positive? Friendships that feel ambivalent, rendering you wondering if they’re truly on your side? If so, it may be time to spring clean your tribe, or at least sweep away some of its members.
#5 Exterminate the emotional clutter from your devices—including your emails, photo albums and text messages.
If you absolutely must save that ranting novel in your inbox, that screenshot that landed during the aftermath of a breakup, or those drunken videos of you and the fling who toyed with your heart, exile them from your phone and file them away. There is no benefit to stumbling upon anything that casts a storm cloud over your happiest days.
#6 Clean up your music.
If you’ve been in a funk over the colder months, fill your speakers with songs that inject you with a dose of the sun. If you feel small, blast an empowering anthem. If you’re uninspired, choose something dreamy or soulful. Music is infectious energy, so supporting your mood with an uplifting soundtrack will trick you back into a state of celebration.
#7 Untangle from the monotony of your routine and follow the fragrance of your curiosity.
Maybe you could try a sculpting or sushi rolling class. Perhaps plant a box garden or go biking alongside a gorgeous waterfall. Whatever inspires you, pack your calendar with new adventures and quests—giving the stale and old activities less of your attention and time.
#8 Tidy up your social media.
Unfriend negative, pity-party throwing people. Unfollow accounts that aren’t aligned with where you wish to be a year from now. This has nothing to do with meanness, pettiness or spitefulness, and everything to do with being a responsible caretaker of your headspace.
#9 Commit to a scheduled digital detox.
This can be a commitment you make to yourself for the first hour of each morning, or perhaps once every Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Designate a time period to stow your phone and laptop away. Be free of the noise of other people’s phoniness, problems, snarky opinions and ranting status updates, focusing solely on the life you wish to grow.
#10 Seek out an uplifting podcast and make it a key part of your daily routine.
Look for one that intrigues you, sparks something revolutionary within you or, perhaps, one that fertilizes the seed of that big, unattended idea. Listen while you’re in the shower or sipping your morning coffee. Because your spring will only become as bright and productive as the things you fill it with.